I was taught by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that there are Five Natural Emotions, and that these emotions are our tools — important and vital tools — to be used in the creation of our lives and the experiencing of who we really are at the highest level.
These tools are: Grief, Anger, Envy, Fear, and Love. Over the next five weeks I would like to explore these tools, one at a time. And today I would like to briefly explore the first of the Five Natural Emotions.
Grief is a natural emotion
It’s that part of you which allows you to say goodbye when you don’t want to say goodbye; to express — push out, propel — the sadness within you at the experience of any kind of loss. It could be the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a contact lens.
When you are allowed to express your grief, you get rid of it. Children who are allowed to be sad when they are feeling sad (it would surprise you to know that many children are not given this permission) feel very healthy around sadness when they are adults, and therefore usually move through their adult sadness very quickly.
Children who are told, “There, there, don’t cry,” (or, worse yet, are asked, “What are you crying about?” or told, “Don’t be a ‘cry baby’!”) may quite understandably have a hard time crying as adults. After all, they’ve been told all their life not to do that. So they repress their grief. And this is not a good thing to do.
Grief that is continually repressed can become chronic depression, a very unnatural emotion. This is not the same thing has grief. This is grief that has not been expressed, that is being held in. The thing about grief is that we all want to let it go. Yet the irony is that the best way to let go of grief is to express it. That is, to fully have it. And so, you let go of it by having it — which may seem counter-intuitive. Yet it is the best way to bring grief to an end.
If someone close to you is experiencing grief right now, the best gift you can give them is to let them have it. Do not try to “comfort” it away. Allow it to flow. Encourage it. Talk people into it, don’t try to talk them out of it. Speak into their grief (“This must feel awful to you right now,” “I can imagine that you must be devastated by this,” etc.), don’t try to talk all around it (“There, there…it’s going to be all right,” “He wouldn’t want you to feel this sad,” etc.)
I never did understand people who say, “Your husband, if he were here, wouldn’t want you to cry so.” Nonsense. If I die before my wife, I want her to cry. If I’m not worth a couple of good cries, what have we had here? I mean, really…
So don’t try to talk others, or yourself, out of your grief over anything. Have it. Express it fully. And that’s the way to get past it. The only way around is through, as Elisabeth used to say.
Grief, used as a tool, produces growth. We grow through grief. By watching carefully what we most deeply grieve, we come to know ourselves and what our deepest values are, as well as what we want them to be. Grief teaches us to be human, to be compassionate, to be deeply caring. It is a wonderful tool of release as well, allowing us to release negative emotions.
Feel your grief fully when you have it. Don’t try to hide it and don’t seek to sublimate it. And whatever you do, don’t try to shorten its time with you. People who tell you that “you’ve grieved long enough” are trying to make themselves more comfortable, not you. You’ve grieved “long enough” when you stop grieving. And you’ll stop grieving faster the more fully you grieve.
Okay? Got it?
Next week: Anger as a Natural Emotion.
Love and Hugs,
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.